The World Health Organization (known as WHO) activated the highest alert level for the global monkeypox outbreak in late July 2022. The organization declared that the situation is officially a global public health emergency. This designation means that the WHO views monkeypox as a significant threat. To prevent the virus from spreading, and potentially becoming a pandemic, a global effort is needed. Although the WHO can only provide recommendations to its member states, the announcement sounded the call for urgent action. The alert was made as infections have risen rapidly worldwide.
Prior to the global health emergency being announced, the WHO’s emergency committee met and made a recommendation to the director general. In the case of monkeypox, however, the committee was unable to come to a conclusion. The WHO’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made the call to put out the alert. On his reasoning, Ghebreyesus said that monkeypox has been spread rapidly through multiple ways of transmission. Since too little is known about the virus, issuing the alert made sense.Read More »
The WHO declaring monkeypox a global emergency is significant since the last time this occurred was in January 2020 with COVID-19.
What is Known About Monkeypox
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that most people recover from monkeypox in 3-4 weeks
- The virus causes a painful rash, which can spread
- This outbreak is unusual, since the virus is spreading in Europe and North America, where it is not normally found
- So far, over 80% of cases have been identified in Europe
- In Europe, the risk of monkeypox is high, while it is moderate in the U.S.
- Monkeypox has been known about since the 1950s, but it is usually just spread in Africa
- Gay and bisexual men are most at risk
- Vaccines are already being distributed in the U.S., but demand is higher than the supply
- Those with rash-like symptoms should consult medical advice from a trained professional
The CDC encourages those with monkeypox to avoid sexual contact, and for everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus. Consider avoiding events with people who are wearing little clothing and be aware of who you choose to be intimate with. While monkeypox is transmissible, it is not highly transmissible, so it is best to be aware and cautious.
Keep an eye out for more on monkeypox as the situation develops. Stay safe!
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